It’s safe to say that most of the Android handheld market is firmly dominated by the venerable Unisoc T618, with Retroid leading the charge with two distinct flavors, a choice made by how much you like clams[hells], though not without a word from Anbernic and Powkiddy. Despite the growing Android handheld market though, it doesn’t feel like we’ve seen a true challenge to the AYN Odin that was such an immense step forward for the space when it was released.
Sure, you have the Logitech G Cloud, but despite being one of my favorite handhelds on the market right now, it feels like it lives in a category separate from the Odin line. Razer is also here to sell you plenty of power, but it’s quite a price jump, and the non-monolithic nature of it lacks a bit of the magic of that true dedicated handheld we all crave.
Enter AYANEO, makers of (perhaps too many) X86 handheld PCs, now wanting to drop weight from the heavyweight class to join the middleweight fight in the Android space. Their first Android handheld, unsurprisingly named the Pocket Air, was announced back in January in a livestream. Since then, it has surfaced in physical form in a more recent stream, though CEO Arthur Zhang is still playing coy about what chip will be inside it (this author’s bet is on the D1200 or RK3588).
The highlights we do know though are plenty to get excited about. A gorgeous 5.5” OLED screen, hall-effect sticks and triggers, and according to CEO Arthur, the ability to dual boot into AYANEO’s new desktop Linux OS they are developing for their handheld PCs. That last bit in particular will excite many handheld enthusiasts who don’t enjoy the Android experience but are left without a powerful Linux handheld at this price and performance tier unless they go all the way up to a Steam Deck. All this is wrapped in the same gorgeous shell from normal Air (the prettiest handheld to ever come out of China to my eye), what’s not to be excited for?
We’ll have to wait for AYA to give more info on the hardware specs, pricing, and an IGG campaign start date, but I’m hopeful we’ll see it being shipped sometime in Q3 or early Q4, at a sweet spot price of 300 USD.
While we wait, feel free to join us in the RH Discord to discuss it (and the 20 other upcoming AYANEO devices)!
This write-up kindly provided by Rensho